New Year’s Day 2022: Is the Post Office Open?

by Jennifer Shea

It’s the holiday season, and everyone’s on vacation, but you’ve got packages or envelopes to send. So you dash to the Post Office, praying it’s open. We’ve all been in that situation.

Unfortunately, if you’re in that situation this year, you’d better hop to it and mail your parcels today, New Year’s Eve. Because Post Office locations everywhere will close on New Year’s Day.

But brace yourself for lines, as Post Offices conduct a lot of business around the holidays. Besides mail services, they also offer money orders, packing supplies, postage, and random memorabilia, per Country Living. You can even apply for or renew your passport there. So there are plenty of reasons for people to visit the post office this time of year.

FedEx, UPS, and Amazon are also all closed and not delivering packages on New Year’s Day.

Post Office Avoided Repeat of 2020 Holiday Season Disaster

This holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service went to great lengths to do better than it did during last year’s holiday season. Last year, more than a third of first-class mail was past due by the time Christmas rolled around.

The Postal Service added 112 new package sorting machines. It hired 40,000 seasonal employees. It leased extra space at more than 100 locations. And it bumped more than 60,000 pre-career employees up to career employee level.

All those steps seem to have worked, the Associated Press reports, because most Postal Service mail was on time this month. ShipMatrix, a firm that analyzes shipping package data, found that 96.9 percent of shipments were on time during a two-week period in December.

Customers also helped avoid a Christmas season crush by ordering and shipping products earlier in the season than last year. Plus, more people shopped locally than did the year before.

“We’re happy to have brought all of the good holiday cheer that we could,” Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 postal workers, told the AP.

Luckily for postal workers, the Omicron variant does not seem to have decimated their ranks yet, because fewer postal workers were quarantined this year than last year. (Those numbers are beginning to tick upward, however, according to the AP.)

This Year’s Quarantine Numbers Pale in Comparison to Last Year’s

During last year’s holiday season, postal workers were hit hard by the coronavirus. Roughly 19,000 post office workers were out at the peak of the holiday season in December, according to the American Postal Workers Union.

By Christmas Eve this year, nearly 6,500 postal workers were out due to COVID-19 quarantines. But by this week, that number had already risen to 8,000, per the union.

National Association of Letter Carriers president Frederic Rolando said that while the pandemic has caused staffing problems, “they don’t alter the mission.”

“We can assure you that the Postal Service does have resources in place, including adequate staffing, to meet the service needs of our customers, now and in the future,” said Postal Service spokesperson Kim Frum.